I remember it so well. I was really excited to have been selected to be in the school choir. I must have been in grade 3, and I had always thought I could sing but being selected for the team was the affirmation I had been too afraid to ask anyone for.
At practice, we sang “tip toe through the tulips” and “New York, New York”. Even though it was still early days, I felt a deep sense of happiness and belonging in that team. Our teacher told us about a competition that would be happening over the weekend, and encouraged us to make sure that our parents got us to the school on time to leave for the venue.
I got home and told my mom all about it. That same Saturday, we made our way to school in the morning and walked to the class where we had practiced as the choir, but there was no one there, not a soul. The school was empty and I was confused. My mom asked the school janitor, Jackson, if there had been anyone at the school that morning or if anyone was expected to be there; he had said no.
We walked to the car in silence, but once we got in, I experienced one of my first tastes of rejection. She was really upset.
“Why don’t you listen properly? You’re so lazy. You are stupid for getting the days mixed up! This is so embarassing! You’ve wasted my time bringing us here.”
My heart was absolutely broken. I didn’t know where or how I had misunderstood my teacher, I must have got the days mixed up or something, maybe I was stupid.
After that, I never went back to choir. I refused to make a mistake like that again. I didn’t trust myself, my memory or my listening skills. I dropped the choir that Saturday, and I never picked it up again. All throughout my schooling career, I had started many extra circular activities – athletics, hockey and even choir again in high school, but I never saw any of them through – I just couldn’t stand the thought of making a mistake like that again. I had disappointed my mother and I couldn’t take that heartbreak another time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents; my mom had an especially special place in my heart. She was never a bad mother, she had done the best she could have, and to me she was the best mom that had ever walked the earth. I had realised the effects of my parents words (good or bad) on both my brother and I early on. Words are so powerful. I made a promise to myself to watch my words around my own once I had a husband and children. Now that I’m a mother, to a toddler – practicing this is much more difficult than I had initially thought, LOL.
I didn’t remember the choir incident until recently.
It’s the year 2019 and I was looking forward to another blissful year with my sweet Ezra at home, safe and sound with me – but he had other plans. It didn’t take long for Darren and I to realise that Ezra was ready for school. He was frustrated at home, and ready for interaction with other children his age. To top it all off, he had just turned 21 months old and he still isn’t talking. It had become increasingly difficult for me to teach him the way I would have liked, and juggling him and working from home had become near impossible.
I’d heard about mom guilt, but this was much worse than I could have ever imagined! I prayed and prayed about putting him into school for 2 weeks – because I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this parenting thing without Jesus.
Eventually, Darren and I had spoken and we had the peace to send Ezra to a nursery school. That revelation, even though it brought peace, triggered something for me. I heard those words echo in my mind.. you’re so lazy.. you are stupid!
Is Ezra not talking because I’m too stupid to teach him properly? Is sending him to school an easy way out and confirmation of my laziness? No.. the peace was my yardstick. It was time for him to go.
I prayed and prayed again for a good school to send him to, not realising that a friend had sent me the number to the school that her kids are attending a few weeks ago. After checking it out and meeting the principle and teachers, we were confident that we were making the right choice.
The night before his first day, I put him to sleep the way I usually do, and I cried happy and sad tears! Sad because my baby is now a toddler that will probably come home smelling like salami or cheese.. or both, and happy because I was proud of us! Proud of me for having him at home with me for almost 22 months. I had done well, even though I was dubious.
On his first day, Ezra was SO excited! Cautious, but excited. I led him into the classroom, and tears filled my eyes when he didn’t even look back to see where we were.. these kids ain’t loyal! (LOL)
I hadn’t realised the profound effect that my mothers words had on me that day in the school quad. Years later, they came back to remind me of what I once believed about myself for many many years, before I committed my life to Jesus. I believed that I was stupid. I believed that I was lazy. I believed that I was a disappointment and it showed in almost every area of my life; my academics, my relationships and my self esteem.
It’s funny how the devil is quick to remind you about who you used to be when you’re about to enter into a new season. His primary objective in the life of a believer is to sow deep seeds of doubt and steal your joy and contentment – and for a moment, he managed to do just that with me.
I was riddled with self doubt and my joy was nowhere to be found. I started to believe those things about myself again.. Why couldn’t I win at this stay-at-home, working-mom, winning-at-life thing?
I had to remind myself of who I am NOW, and who I am now is not who I used to be.
I am a good mom – not a stupid or lazy one! Whatever I do for my son is not done out of my own strength – a committed parenting partner (aka Darren), prayer and guidance from the Holy spirit are the only things that help me navigate this crazy jungle of motherhood.
Being a parent is TOUGH. Being a mom or dad is HARD! Dam, if anyone has ever told you that it’s easy, DO NOT believe them – they’re lying! Becoming a parent has simultaneously brought about an incredible amount of joy, doubt, pride and anxiety for me.
Personally, the greatest revelation that has come through parenthood has been realising the heart of God. The way that I love and see Ezra is just a small peep into the way that my Daddy see’s me. During this nursery school debacle I had to remind myself again, over and over of what He says about me, who He says I am, and how He loves me, and His promises to me – oh, how beautiful it is.
Psalm 139: 1 – 6 (NLT)
1O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
5You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
Genesis 28: 15 (NLT)
15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading to the end, and for stopping by! I pray that it’s blessed you.